Built hundreds of website and helped countless schools realise their potential online. Ian should be called upon for straight-talking advice and to make a difference to the way you present your school through every outlet.
When there is so much information that schools need to share with parents, it's so hard to know how to do this effectively. Parental engagement is all about maintaining the strongest possible relationship. But, what is the best way of overcoming information fatigue?
But, during the coronavirus pandemic, how on earth do you keep parents engaged? When information changes by the day, even by the hour, how do you stop parents from switching off?
I have had a number of conversations with school leaders over recent weeks about this. The consensus is universal. Despite hugely creative efforts, including video and dedicated pages, interest has waned.
So, we set ourselves a challenge.
How do we make this easier? How do we make it possible for schools to send out all the information they need to while minimising information fatigue?
Your goal is to be proactive, not reactive even when information is changing constantly.
Here is what you need to do.
The first thing to say is that you should expect when you are sending lots of information out, that there will always be some level of information fatigue. Parents will get tired of all the information they have to absorb.
But, that doesn't mean we pull back, rather we lean in. Let's do the best possible job we can.
Go easy on yourself. Go easy on parents.
Our strongest piece of advice to you is to maintain a single point of information. A single page.
It is fine to link to other content from this page, especially if you think it is becoming a bit of a monster. BUT, by maintaining a single point of information parents will, over time, know where to go to get their information.
That's not all though. You must do this in conjunction with the next two suggestions.
Are you getting asked the same questions time and time again by your parents?
I imagine the answer is yes. If it is, where do you keep all your templated/canned responses to those questions? Do you?
If not, you need to get on to that straight away.
I am not suggesting for one moment that you remove all sense of personalisation from your responses to parents. Effectively parental engagement is personalised to the need of the individual. But, you have the opportunity to create the answer you want to share with your community and use it in all your communication.
To aid with this, we have created a feature specifically to help achieve this goal.
The Schudio Knowledge Base feature gives you the option to create categories of commonly asked questions and answers. Then, you can add further content around those questions and create a helpful, easy to use single point of information.
This nicely brings us on to our final, major point.
I can't stress this enough. In everything you do, every communication you send out, and when you ask any question ... point your users to a single point of information.
Firstly, you will only have one point of information to update. That makes your life easier. You may decide that, in order to keep the page from becoming an epic, you want to create some sub-pages. That's fine. But, go easy. Don't simply create a list of links!
Secondly, your audience, parents, and students alike, will grow to expect to find all the information they need in that place. This takes time and consistency in approach. But, if you stick to this as your principle it will work.
And finally, there is one more vital point. Make sure that you link to this page very clearly on your website. Don't expect parents to use this page as their key resource if you've buried it.
Your next job is to create this single point of information on your website.
Ensure you include a clear structure that doesn't change. If there is a new category of information you need to add then make sure to consider where that fits in to your site. Ask for help from our team if you need it. We're always happy to advise.
Then, whenever you send information out to parents via email, text message or app notification tell them they will find everything they need on this web page. And stick to that approach.
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